Meet AV's Blockchain Investing Partners

Our Blockchain Fund teams work with other established VCs to invest in promising blockchain companies

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One of the core pillars of Alumni Ventures’ investment strategy is working closely with other established VC partners. To date, we’ve co-invested with well-known VCs specializing in a wide variety of sectors, stages, and regions. We are strictly a co-investor, following other well-regarded lead investors into rounds. We don’t negotiate terms or take Board seats, allowing us to focus on identifying promising opportunities. This strategy also affords us the latitude to build diverse portfolios while investing alongside VCs with deep experience in a given area.

Recent market trends have made blockchain one of the most active sectors of private equity investments. The global blockchain market, which is divided into blockchain platforms and Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS), is projected to reach $69 billion in 2027.

In this article, we feature some of the well-known VCs we’ve co-invested alongside to support blockchain companies working to unlock the full potential of Web3 and other blockchain-based tech.¹

Alumni Ventures’ Blockchain Fund will focus on new sectors and ventures using blockchain tech. We will provide investors in the fund with a portfolio of ~20-30 promising, venture-backed companies innovating in areas like Web3 infrastructure and services, decentralized finance (DeFi), the metaverse, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and more. This is an actively managed fund led by a three-person investing team, all with deep VC and blockchain experience.

Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) is a stage-agnostic venture capital investor with $28.2 billion in assets under management (AUM) across multiple funds. The firm focuses on forward-thinking tech companies across a wide variety of industries. In June of 2021, a16z announced a $2.2 billion fund dedicated to supporting crypto and blockchain-based startups. The firm has said it is “radically optimistic about crypto’s potential to restore trust and enable new kinds of governance where communities collectively make important decisions about how networks evolve, what behaviors are permitted, and how economic benefits are distributed.” For 2022, the firm is looking to raise another fund dedicated to crypto tech, aiming for $4.5 billion. At that size, the fund would be the largest crypto VC fund to date.

Sample AV Blockchain Co-Investments with a16z

Mythical is a game-technology platform enabling true ownership of digital assets, verifiable scarcity, and integrated secondary markets. The company uses distributed ledger technology to build in-game player economies.

Dapper Labs is the creator of NBA Top Shot and the original developers behind the Flow blockchain. The company uses blockchain technology to bring NFTs and other new forms of digital engagement to users around the world. Since its founding in 2018, Dapper Labs has brought consumer enthusiasts closer to the brands they follow, while providing new pathways to become creators. Dapper Labs’ current studio partners include the NBA, Warner Music Group, Ubisoft, and UFC. To date, Alumni Ventures has participated in four blockchain-related investments alongside Dapper Labs in startups ranging from consumer and entertainment to fintech and dedicated NFT marketplaces.

Sample AV Blockchain Co-Investments with Dapper Labs

GigLabs provides two tools — a CMS platform and a 3D environment to experience digital art and collectibles — to help brands build successful NFT experiences. Their cloud-based CMS platform, NFT Bridge, enables brands to manage the creation, distribution, management, and tracking of NFTs. RareRooms provides an immersive 3D environment for collectors, artists, and admirers to experience digital art and NFT collectibles.

MintNFT has developed a platform where brands can create a fully branded environment to sell NFTs and launch branded marketplaces. Their platform provides a digital collectibles fan marketplace that helps brands, artists, and IP owners launch collaborative NFTs. It provides collectors a fully immersive experience as they interact with collectibles which they can buy and sell in the marketplace.

Alameda Research Ventures (ARV) is a quantitative cryptocurrency trading firm and liquidity provider. They manage over $70 million in digital assets and trade around $1 billion per day across thousands of products: all major coins, altcoins, and their derivatives. With a presence in Hong Kong, the U.S., and Japan, ARV maintains a full-scale global operation enabling the ability to trade on virtually every crypto market and exchange. With decades of experience from Jane Street, Optiver, Susquehanna, Facebook, and Google, ARV has built one of the most sophisticated trading systems in the crypto world. To date, AV has co-invested with ARV in five blockchain-based companies since 2020.

Sample AV Blockchain Co-Investments with Alameda Research Ventures

Aurora has developed an Ethereum Virtual Machine and a powerful cross-chain bridge that delivers a turnkey solution for developers to operate their apps on Aurora’s Ethereum-compatible platform. Their platform enables developers to launch Ethereum decentralized apps on Aurora within minutes by clicking on other Ethereum contracts and assets. The Aurora Engine and Bridge provide a scalable, future-safe solution that speeds up transaction throughput and lowers costs.

Stacked has developed a cryptocurrency platform that allows users to easily access trading strategies and investment portfolios from leading hedge funds and traders. Their platform’s straightforward user interface simplifies the ability to make and manage automated crypto investments. It also speeds up the running of algorithms for active traders and provides passive investors access to vetted trading bots.

Digital Currency Group (DCG) aims to accelerate the development of a better financial system. DCG builds and supports blockchain and digital currency companies using their network, insights, and access to capital. DCG has been the most active investor in the digital currency industry, with investments in over 150 companies in 30 different countries. They also own and operate several subsidiaries dedicated to blockchain-related endeavors — including Foundry, a financing and advisory company focused on digital asset mining and staking; and Luno, a leading global digital asset exchange and wallet. DCG also owns CoinDesk, an independent source of blockchain news, data, and research. To date, AV has participated in six crypto and blockchain investments alongside DCG.

Sample AV Blockchain Co-Investment with DCG

Colu’s platform, powered by a mobile app, delivers a white-label city coin that incentivizes local residents to take small actions to make city life more economically, environmentally, and socially responsible. Using Colu’s mobile digital wallet app, users can earn and spend digital city coins by engaging in municipality-designated activities such as shopping locally, supporting women-owned businesses, recycling, and providing additional revenue opportunities for a city.

Pixelynx builds technology designed to transform the way music is consumed in the metaverse, while also building a network of complementary businesses. Pixelynx’s metaverse platform makes it easy for artists to launch their own interactive environment and monetize it through NFT, playable experiences, and virtual performances.

GV, formerly known as Google Ventures, was founded by Bill Maris in 2009 and is the venture capital investment vehicle for Alphabet Inc. The company provides funding to technology companies at stages spanning seed, venture, and growth. GV has invested in startups across a wide variety of fields ranging from internet infrastructure to software, artificial intelligence, autonomous transportation, and cybersecurity. One of the unique aspects of GV is the services it provides to its portfolio companies, namely its design bootcamp. Drawing on talent from across the tech world, including Google and Mozilla, it assists portfolio companies with design sprints and boot camps to help them fine-tune their products, while delivering polished user experiences.

Sample AV Blockchain Co-Investments with GV

Helium’s disruptive approach combines wireless technology with blockchain. The result: A connectivity system that’s inexpensive to build, highly accessible, and quickly scalable. Helium’s open-source, distributed network of hotspots is owned and operated by users who are incentivized with tokens. It provides public, long-range wireless coverage for Low-Power Wide-Area Networks-enabled IoT devices.

Sequoia is a well-regarded, international VC with $80.7 billion in AUM. The firm has funds specific to India and southeast Asia, Israel, China, and the U.S., as well as offices in Menlo Park, Singapore, Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, London, and Tel Aviv. Sequoia’s portfolio includes notable investments in Apple, Cisco, Google, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Zoom, PayPal, Reddit, Instagram, and Tumblr. In February 2022, the firm announced a crypto-focused fund with a target of between $500 million and $600 million in commited capital.

Sample AV Blockchain Co-Investment with Sequoia

EthSign is a decentralized, versioned, and consensus-based electronic agreements-signing application built on Ethereum, IPFS, and Filecoin. EthSign provides basic functions such as private key signature, online drafting and decentralized storage of agreements, and process logs of agreement signing. All these features are provided in a decentralized, transparent, and privacy-protected manner.

Tiger Global is an investment firm focused on public and private companies in the global Internet, software, consumer, and financial technology industries. Since 2003, their private equity business has invested in hundreds of companies across more than 30 countries, including investments ranging from Series A to pre-IPO. Tiger Global aims to partner with dynamic entrepreneurs operating market-leading growth companies in their core focus areas. To date, AV has participated in 13 deals with Tiger Global spanning the industries of quantum computing, cybersecurity, climate teach, and blockchain/cryptocurrency.

Sample AV Blockchain Co-Investments with Tiger Global

Rare Circles makes it simple for creators to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to their audiences. Their account managers help artists, photographers, musicians, brands, and others build customized online shops to sell their NFTs and manage their revenues. Rare Circle provides creators the tools needed to sell digital goods — without the hassle of coding or hiring a website developer.

Alumni Ventures’ Blockchain Fund will focus on new sectors and ventures using blockchain tech. We will provide investors in the fund with a portfolio of ~20-30 promising, venture-backed companies innovating in areas like Web3 infrastructure and services, decentralized finance (DeFi), the metaverse, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and more. This is an actively managed fund led by a three-person investing team, all with deep VC and blockchain experience.

Contact [email protected] for additional information. To see additional risk factors and investment considerations, visit av-funds.com/disclosures.

¹For illustration purposes only. These investments are not intended to suggest any level of investment returns; not necessarily indicative of investments invested by any single fund or investor. Many returns in investments result in the loss of capital invested. These investments are not available to future fund investors except potentially in certain follow-on investment options.